by Paul Rainford Blues’ Football Captain The humbling defeat against Team Bath in the National BUSA knockout competition has certainly given the team much to ponder, not just in terms of what we expect to achieve for the rest of this season but also what might lie in store later. Bath finished runners up in the BUSA Premier South Division this year and they boast a team containing players on scholarships who perform a very high level, both physically and technically. They are one of the flagship football projects that Sport England has spent much time and money cultivating in order to improve the quality of football provision at British universities. If we win our playoff match next week, they will also be a team that we will have to compete with on a regular basis. On Wednesday’s showing that would present a formidable task for the Blues. Granted, we were missing four regular players from our starting line up, but the nature of our first half capitulation will certainly force Martin Keown to seriously assess our squad personnel and tamper with certain aspects of our style. We simply failed to compete in the defensive third and conceded four goals that were almost carbon copies of one another, with lofted crosses to the back post being headed home by one of either the Bath strikers or the wide players making a run inside from the wing. Going forward, we put together a few nice passages of play, and Toogood and De Walden were a constant threat to their somewhat cumbersome centre-halves. But our inability to stem the flow at the other end of the field ensured that the endeavour of our strikers counted for very little, as we went in at half time demoralised and facing up to the prospect of playing only for pride in the second half. To the team’s credit, a much more spirited performance was displayed after half time, but by that time the game was lost. We were fundamentally undone by a lack of structured team shape, a lack of a competitive spirit and a lack of concentration. This performance was totally out of character with the way we have played up until this point in the season and one must not make too many hasty decisions or changes on the basis of one result. However we will certainly be looking for a positive response from our players in training. We will not recover from this and get back to winning ways by wallowing in self pity or crumbling under self-doubt. I know that we are better than we showed today and we have to prove that in our playoff against Exeter next week.
Clonmel Commericals and Ballyporeen meet in Group 2.Throw-in in New Inn is at 8 o’clock.